Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Finds

This week started out innocently enough.  I though that I would find some recipes to make a complete meal.  The first thing I found was a recipe for some  pork chops.

Beyer Beware

Sarah from This Farm Family's Life guest posted at Beyer Beware on Monday and shared a recipe for this delicious looking pork chop.  Now I am not a pop drinker, but my husband has one can everyday.  I have made other recipes that called for pop, and they were very good.  This one sound really good, also.


The Pretend Chef

Then I found a recipe for some great sounding carrots. I love carrots if they are cooked properly.  Hubby not so much.  I also love cumin so this seems a perfect paring.   With the addition of a one of the potato dishes from previous Friday Finds, I would have a very tasty dinner.

I decide that I might want to make some muffins.  I found this apple muffin recipe that seems perfect for a fall dinner.

Ali N Son

So I was doing really good finding some nice wholesome food.  Then it Went All Down Hill from There.  Because I found this:

Almond Joy Bread
Wives with Knives

This wonderful bread is chuck full for coconut, almonds, and chocolate.  It is then covered with a coconut glaze and decorated with chocolate ganache.  My son-in-law loves coconut bread.  I have a favorite recipe that I make him every Christmas, but I can't wait to try this one.

And then I found this: 

Brandy's Crafts

What a concept.  Using candy to make candy.  And so easy.  Just melt candy corn, mix with peanut butter chill and dip into melted chocolate.  These are definitely going onto my Christmas platters this year.  So next week, I will make another effort to find healthier recipes.

As always, I am most anxious to see what everyone else has found this week.

Please note that all photos were taken by and are the property of the respective bloggers represented.
   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies-No-Bake Peanut Butter or Chocolate Drops


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I am so excited to be part of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.  I followed along last year but was not blogging then.

At Christmas time back in the 80’s I had a cookie baking business that I ran for the people I worked with.  Every year I would scour my cookbooks and choose 12 to 15 different recipes to make.  I would write up a page with the recipe names and a description of each, hand them out to my coworkers, and  they would preorder what they wanted.  

I have never shared all those recipes, but this year I am sharing them.  A number of the recipes are ones that I have not seen anywhere on the web; and I do not want them to become “lost”.  Hopefully sharing the recipes here will help preserve them for the future.

Before I post today’s recipes here are a few tips I learned from making many cookies at Christmastime. 

1.  Make bar cookies.  There are so many different recipes out there, and you can just mix up the batter and stick them in the oven.
2.  Use cookie recipes that make big batches or double your regular recipes.  It takes the same amount of time to mix up dough that makes 3 dozen cookies as it does to mix up dough that makes 6 dozen.  Being the Cookie Monster’s grandmother, I never make recipes that will yield only 16 or 24 cookies.
3.  Make cookie recipes that can be formed into large “logs” and then sliced after baking.  Several of the recipes that I will post are this type.
4.  Make recipes that you can keep in the refrigerator or freezer and then just slice and bake. 
5.  Make “no-bake” cookies.  Saves time and you are not paying for having the oven on.

The first recipes I am sharing are "no-bake”.   A very popular “no-bake” cookie is made with cocoa, peanut butter and oatmeal.  These cookies are either Peanut Butter OR Chocolate.  I have been making these for over 35 years and no longer remember where the Peanut Butter recipe came from.  The Chocolate recipe came from Land O Lakes.

Any kind of nut can be used in the chocolate cookies.  They should be toasted for the best flavor.  A nice change is to used toasted almonds and sub 1/2 to 1 t. almond extract for the vanilla.

The method for making both cookies is the same so I will list the ingredients for each and then the method.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Drops
1/2 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup peanut butter  (I like crunchy)
1 t. vanilla
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats

Chocolate Oatmeal Drops
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 to 1/2 c. cocoa
pinch salt
1/2 t. vanilla
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. toasted nuts
1/2 to 1 c. coconut (optional)

Cut a piece of waxed paper at least 3 ft. long and place on counter or table.  In a large, heavy saucepan combine butter, milk, white or brown sugar, salt and cocoa if using.  Bring mixture to a full-rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Without stirring, let mixture boil for 3 minutes.  Immediately remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter (if using) and vanilla.  Stir until peanut butter is melted.  Add oats and mix well.  Stir in nuts and coconut if using.  Using two teaspoons drop mixture onto waxed paper.  Use one spoon to scoop up mixture and the other to slide it onto the waxed paper.  Let set until firm, about 30 minutes.  Makes about 4 dozen.

If you have an eagle eye, you may have noticed that there are no nuts in the chocolate cookies in the photo.  I forgot to put them in.

Linking to:  Fall Blog Crawl
I'm Lovin' It
Ingredient Spotlight



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Chip Bars

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It is the time of year when I want to make things with pumpkin.  I recently tried a new pumpkin bar recipe, and it is a keeper.  I was looking through some of my cookie cookbooks (I won’t confess how many of those I have) and found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Cookies for Christmas, 1985.

The recipe has many of the things I like:  It is a bar cookie, uses vegetable oil (but not a lot) and fills a 15x10 inch pan which means it makes a big batch.

The recipe originally called for semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I didn’t have any on hand.  I did have Nestles’ White Chocolate Chips so I used them.  For whatever reason, most of the chips melted as the bars were baking.  That was OK because left behind were little holes of sweetness.  I am anxious to try other flavors of chips in these.  The cinnamon/sugar topping adds a nice finishing touch to the cookies.

In the future, I will probably add nuts to these.  These are great without them, however, so would be good for people who don’t like or cannot eat nuts.

I think that these would make a great dessert, cut into larger squares with some caramel sauce poured over them and topped with ice cream.

Pumpkin Chip Cookies
4 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate or other flavor baking chips
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Place eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Beat well.  Add pumpkin, oil, and sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until just moistened.  Stir in chips.  Spread in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.  Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees 25 to 30 minutes or till done.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  The recipe says 36 cookies, but I easily got 48.

Linking to:  Cast Party Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Whisking Wednesdays
Full Plate Thursday
It's a Keeper Thursday
Get Your Brag On Link Party

Skipping through Blogland and Stopping at The Better Baker

Recently Marsha at The Better Baker invited me to stop by her blog.  She is another blogger "of a certain age" and has been blogging since 2009.  If I had run across her blog a couple of years ago, I might have started blogging sooner myself.

Marsha's cooking is a lot like mine.  She makes good American comfort food.  When I asked her to suggest any particular posts from her blog, she said that Baked Waffles with Raspberry Cream Cheese and Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake were two of her most popular posts.  I thought that I would check them out for myself.


Baked Waffles with Raspberry Cream Cheese  Don't these look delicious?  I love that these can be made ahead.  Raspberries are one of my favorite fruits.  Marsha says other fruits could be used as well.  She used frozen waffles in this, but the waffles could be made from scratch also.  I am adding this to my special breakfast ideas list.


Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake  I love a dessert that can be made in a slow cooker.  It is so nice when your oven is busy cooking something else.  This one uses cake mix and also includes toffee bits and chocolate chips.  Yum, Yum.  Just mix the ingredients, pour into a slow cooker and be willing to wait a few hours.  That is the hard part.


Cream Cheese Coffee Cake  This is a recent post, but like she says Yeah! Baby!  Just keep some crescent rolls and some cream cheese in the fridge, and you can make this up anytime.  This is another breakfast that can be made ahead.

Well, after finding the three luscious recipes above, I figured that I should look for some soup, veggies, or main dish recipes.


Marsha has posted 15 different soups on her blog.  I have some chicken I need to use, and this soup caught my eye.  Cheesy Chicken Chowder  Oh, Boy does this look good!  This has everything that a good chowder should have:  Chicken, potatoes, celery, carrots, milk, and cheese.  I will be making it this week.  It is perfect for this early fall weather.  The only thing I might add to this is some chopped red pepper, but then I've mentioned how I put it in everything I can get away with.


Next I looked for some veggie recipes.  Marsha certainly has a number of different recipes, but this simple one looks good.  Sugared Asparagus sounds delicious.  I will have to wait until next spring to enjoy this, but that will give me something to look forward to when asparagus season rolls round again.


Stew is such a wonderful comfort food, and this Old-Fashioned Beef Stew can be made ahead and then cooked in a slow cooker, which gives it two pluses for me.  This is another recipe that is going on my "Try Very Soon" list

Marsha cooks for a diabetic so many of her recipes are suitable for people following those diet restrictions.

Marsha also blogs at Country Cooks Across America, has written her own cookbook (available on her blog), and won a recipe contest at American Profile, that magazine that many of us get with our paper each Saturday.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit at The Better Baker, and was reluctant to leave, but I came away with great new recipes to try.  I subscribed to the blog and will check back often.

Note:  All photos in this post were taken by Marsha, used with her permission and remain her property.

If you are reading this and would like me to make a stop at your blog while I'm Skipping through Blogland, just send me an email.  I do all the work, you get all the credit.  How easy is that?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Pumpkin/Oatmeal Drops

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This is a cookie that positively oozes autumn.  The taste of pumpkin bread in a cookie with the addition of wholesome oats and the crunch from the nuts.  These smell wonderful while baking and keep well, but at our house we do not have to worry about that.

Because the smaller cans of pumpkin now have only 1 1/2 c. pumpkin in them instead of 2 c., I have adjusted this recipe to use 3/4 c. pumpkin instead of 1 cup.   Any nut can be used in this recipe.  I especially like walnuts or pecans.  Be sure and toast them.  It makes all the difference in the world.

These will not spread much, so if you want them bigger drop a larger amount of dough and bake them a little longer.  As is, they are great to serve on a tray of assorted cookies.  This is a soft cookie that contrasts nicely with crisper ones.

Pumpkin/Oatmeal Drops
Homemade Cookies
Farm Journal Books, 1971

3/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
2 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/8 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 c. chopped, toasted nuts

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs; add pumpkin, water, and vanilla.  Stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.  Stir into creamed mixture.  Add oats, coconut, and nuts.  Drop by teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees about 12 minutes.  Remove cookies and cool on racks.  Makes 6 dozen.

Linking to:  Tuesday Talent Show
Tuesday Time Out
Tasty Tuesday
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Show Me What Ya Got
Tip Me Tuesday
Ingredient Spotlight

Monday, September 26, 2011

DIY Groceries-Spreadable or Diet Butter

Good Monday to all.  Thank you for following my blog.  I hope that you find the information that I post here useful.

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Spreadable butter is a nice thing to have on hand to put on bread, etc.  Unfortunately spreadable butter is a little pricey at the grocery store.  It takes a little time, but it is very easy to make spreadable butter at a fraction of the cost.  All it takes is butter and milk or water.  Merely mix softened butter with some warm milk or water and the result is spreadable butter.  Use water for making diet butter.

I probably should have posted this before I did the flavored butters posts.  Alas, I did not.  Any of the flavored butter seasonings can be added to this recipe when the butter and milk/water have been mixed together.  The seasoning amounts need to be doubled as there are two sticks of butter used here.

Spreadable or Diet Butter
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, salted or unsalted
1/4 c. milk or water, warmed but not hot
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)

Leave butter at room temperature until very soft or soften in the microwave in 10 second intervals.   (I usually do the latter.)  Place in bowl and add milk or water.  Mix together until well combined.  This can be done with a hand electric mixer or with a rubber spatula.  Add salt if using unsalted butter.  Turn into a covered container and store in the refrigerator.  Take butter from fridge and let set out a little while before using. Makes slightly over 1/2 lb. spreadable butter.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made

I recently made a couple of desserts from the blogs.  Both were very good.


If you still have an abundance of zucchini, MAKE THIS!  This is from At Home My Way and the recipe title says it all:  Zucchini Cobbler Just Like Apple.  It really, really does taste just like apple.  You will amaze your family and friends.  I took this to work and called it Mystery Cobbler.  Everyone that tried it guessed that it was apple.  I don't know what the magic is, perhaps cooking the zucchini in the lemon juice.  I used the trick she suggested and sliced the zucchini to look just like apple slices.  I thought that there was too much crust for me personally, but everyone else proclaimed the crust just right.


When I came home from work Friday night, hubby said that a neighbor had brought us some peaches and tomatoes.  Upon checking the peaches out, I found that they were very ripe and needed to be used soon.  I decide to make a peach crisp with them yesterday.  I have several recipes for peach crisp, but always like to look through the blogs to see what I can find.  I was scouting around and found Sriracha Peach Crisp over at Budget Bytes.  I really wanted to make this one, but wasn't sure how well it would go over with hubby.  Well, she just happened to have Peach Almond Crisp on her blog also.  I chose to make that one.  I doubled the recipe as I had a lot of peaches to use up.

This recipe uses softened butter in the topping instead of firm.  I may have softened mine a little too much.  The topping will be more clumpy and the taste more caramely than a topping with firm butter.  It was a nice change.  This is a new-to-me blog.  She gives the costs of her recipes, kind of like $5.00 Dinners.  Her cost was $3.37 for the entire recipe or .42 a serving for 8 servings.  I figure that, even though I doubled the recipe,  my cost was much less since the peaches were free.

I will definitely be making both of these dishes again.  Thanks gals for two great ones.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Surprise Meat Loaf


This meat loaf takes a little more effort than most meat loaves, but it is well worth it.  It also stretches a pound and a half of ground beef enough to make 8 to 10 servings.  People seem to like the surprise element of finding stuffing inside.  I use my favorite meat loaf recipe that calls for 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef.  Another favorite recipe could be used instead.

I make a beef-flavored cream sauce/gravy to serve with this.  Do try to use the freshly ground pepper.  It makes a difference.  We don't care for the taste, but a couple of packages of gravy mix or even canned gravy could be used.  I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and a veggie.

Surprise Meat Loaf

2 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
2/3 c. finely crushed butter-flavored round crackers (about 20)
1/2 c. finely minced onion (or use 2 T. dry minced onion)
1 t. salt
1/2 to 3/4 t. rubbed sage or poultry seasoning
1/8 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. lean ground beef (I use 85/15)
2 T. butter
1 c. chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. minced parsley
1/2 to 1 T. rubbed sage or poultry seasoning
1/2 t. salt
dash pepper
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/3 c. dry bread crumbs.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, crushed crackers, onion, salt, sage or poultry seasoning and pepper.  Mix well.  Add ground beef and mix until it is well combined with the other ingredients.  Line a 5x9-inch loaf pan with waxed paper or foil, letting it extend beyond the sides.  Using 3/4 of the meat mixture. line the bottom and side of the loaf pan.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a medium frying pan.  Add celery, onion, red pepper, and garlic.  Sauté until tender.  Cool slightly.  Add parsley, sage or poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well.  Add egg and bread crumbs and mix thoroughly.  Turn stuffing into meat lined loaf pan, patting down lightly.  Top with remaining meat mixture, sealing stuffing inside.  Using the extended waxed paper or foil, turn loaf into a greased 7x11-inch baking dish.  Seal meat mixture over stuffing where necessary.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  For a moist top, cover meat loaf at least for the first 30 minutes.  For a crisper top, leave meat loaf uncovered. Let stand 10 minutes after removing from the oven.  Serves 8 to 10.

Quick Gravy
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1/3 c. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. water
2 T. Better than Bouillon Beef Broth Base or bouillon granules
generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Stir in flour.  Let cook 1 or 2 minutes.  Gradually stir in milk and water.  Heat until boiling.  Add Broth Base or bouillon granules.  Cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes.  Sprinkle generously with freshly ground pepper.  Makes 2 c.

Linking to:  Hunk of Meat Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday
Newbie Party
Mangia Monday
Ingredient Spotlight

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Finds

Even though I didn't post a list last week, I stopped and checked them all out.  Found some great recipes.  Here are some of the dishes I ran across this week that I want to try soon.

Blog Chef

Doesn't this look so good?  It makes me want to jump right into the picture and get some.  I love Chinese food and have been wanting to do another "Chinese Food Night" for awhile now.  This is definitely going on the menu.  This is a older recipe from 2008.  She has many other wonderful looking Chinese dishes on her blog.  Wouldn't it be fun to get a group of six or eight and have them each make a different dish, then get together for a home-cooked Chinese buffet?

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

This looks like another wonderful recipe from the always reliable Mel.  Since these are baked and not fried, I'm sure that they are much better and healthier than the ones available at the corner mini market.  I want to try these very soon.

Lady Behind the Curtain

This looks as though it would be just plain fun to make and eat.  I think that I will try it with frozen corn so that I can make it all year.  Fresh corn has such a great flavor, I probably can't quite duplicate that though.

Simple Girl

I like to have snack mixes around to offer to unexpected drop-ins.  With Christmas coming up, I think that this would be a good one, made with red and green M&M's, to give as Christmas gifts.  I would probably throw in some nuts.

Homemade by Holman

Guess I am kinda into pasta this week.  I actually found this at Once a Month Mom where she includes freezing directions.  I could not "borrow" her photo so went to the site of the original recipe poster.   This looks fast, easy, and good.  I like the idea of white cheddar for a change.

Crumbs and Chaos

Couldn't end without including a cookie.  What is not to like about this one?  No-bake, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Graham Crackers.  I usually have all the ingredients on hand to stir up these little puppies.  Yum!

That is my list for this week.  I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else has found.

Note:  all photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the various blogs represented.

Linking to Friday Favorite Finds

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easy Chicken Bake

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I love to cook and consider myself very middle-of-the-road when it comes to cooking.   There are days when, as much as I like to do DIY groceries and make dishes from scratch, I just don’t want to do it. Yesterday was one of those days.  I thawed out a pound of chicken breasts and just wasn't motivated to do anything very creative with them.  So I turned to a freezer/pantry shelf recipe that I have had for years.  Quick, easy, and good that is what I wanted.

This recipe came from the back of a Stove Top box.  It can be varied by using different flavor stuffing mixes and other vegetables.  In fact, last night I used some chopped sugar snap peas that I cooked separately in boiling water for a few minutes and some chopped red pepper.  One can vary the mixed vegetables by using California Mix or other combinations, peas and carrots, chopped broccoli, etc.  If using frozen veggies, I put them in a strainer or colander and thaw them out under running hot water.  This dish can also be made with already cooked chicken, just reduce the baking time.

Easy Chicken Bake
1 Pkg. (6 oz.) Stove top Cornbread Stuffing Mix, prepared
1 to 1 /2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (or make your own)
2 to 4 T. water to rinse out soup can
1/3 c. sour cream
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained

Prepare stuffing mix with water and butter according to package directions.  Set aside.  Put chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Use water to rinse out soup can and add.  Mix together well.  Top with prepared stuffing mix.  Cover.  Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 15 minutes more or until chicken is done.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Linking to It's a Keeper Thursday and It's A Keeper Co-Host
Full Plate Thursday

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight-Nutella-Banana Smoothie

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If you have been reading this blog, you know that my new go-to breakfast drink is a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie from This Chick Cooks.

The other day I decided to change it up and use Nutella instead of peanut butter.  So this is my adaptation of Katie’s recipe.  The Nutella will not completely dissolve, so there will be little flecks of chocolate in the smoothie.

With the other ingredients in it, my mini food processor doesn’t do well with a whole cup of milk so I process this in two steps.  In the first step, I combine the banana, Nutella and about 3/4 cup milk.  I pour that into my glass, add about 1/2 cup more milk to the food processor and process that.  I pour that into the first mixture.  Doing two steps also helps to get every little bit of goodness out of the food processor and into my glass.

Nutella Banana Smoothie
Adapted from Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie from This Chick Cooks

1 frozen banana, sliced
2-3 T. Nutella, as desired
1 1/4 c. milk, divided

Place the banana, Nutella, and 3/4 c. milk in a mini food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass.  Add 1/2 c. milk to the food processor and process briefly.  Add to smoothie mixture in glass and mix well with a spoon.  Drink and enjoy.  Serves 1.

Linking to:  Ingredient Spotlight
Whisking Wednesdays
These Chicks Cooked
Foodie Wednesday

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Big Batch Peanut Butter Cookies


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I like cookie recipes that make lots of cookies.  This is one that fills the bill quite nicely.  It makes 7 to 8 dozen good-size cookies.  These are great for lunch boxes or after school snacks.  They have a more sandy texture and are not quite as dense as most peanut butter cookies.  I like to use crunchy peanut butter when I make them.

I use my cookie scoop to form these, and that makes them a little larger than 1-inch so I usually get around 7 dozen.

Big Batch (my name for these) Peanut Butter Cookies
Farm Journal’s Complete Home Baking Book
Farm Journal Books, 1979

2 1/2 c. sifted flour
2 t. baking soda
1 c. butter or regular margarine, softened
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
Flour

Mix together flour and baking soda; set aside.  Cream together butter or margarine, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla.  Gradually stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture, blending well.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  (If dough is too soft to roll, chill for an hour or so.)  Place balls, about 2 inches apart, on greased baking sheets.  Flatten each with a floured fork, making a crisscross pattern.  Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.  Makes 7 to 8 dozen.

Linking to:  Tuesday Time Out
Tuesday Talent Show
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Tip Me Tuesday
Show Me What You Got

Monday, September 19, 2011

DIY Groceries-A-Z Quick Bread

Good Monday Morning.  Welcome to my new followers.  Thanks to all for reading my blog.  I hope that you find the information I post here useful.


Today I am posting a basic recipe for making quick bread.  Quick bread is wonderful  served with the sweet-flavored butters from last week.  This recipe could also be called Kitchen Sink Bread because almost anything except the kitchen sink can be put in it.

I usually puree fruits like apricots, peaches, and pears in my mini food processor or blender to make a sauce and then use the sauce.  I have also used them just chopped.

Any nut can be used in the bread.  Toasting them will add flavor.  If there are allergies or food tastes that eliminate nuts, they can also be omitted.

Other spices can be added in addition to or instead of the cinnamon.

For holiday baking, I put the batter in small loaf pans.  I usually put two or three different little loaves together with some sweet-flavored butters to give as a gift.


A to Z bread

3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t soda
3 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder
3 eggs
1 c oil
2 c sugar
2 c A-Z
3 t vanilla
1 c chopped nuts

Sift dry ingredients, set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl: add oil and beat well. Add A-Z and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mixing well; add nuts.  Pour into two greased and floured 8x2-inch loaf pans.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour.   Cool in pan on rack.  Makes 2 loaves.

A-Z includes any of these:
apples- grated
applesauce
apricots
bananas
blueberries
boysenberries
blackberries
carrots, raw: grated; cooked: mashed
cherries
coconut
cranberries, fresh, frozen or dried
dates
figs
grapes
nectarines
oranges
peaches
pears
pineapple
prunes
pumpkin, cooked and mashed
raisins
raspberries
rhubarb
strawberries
summer squash, coarsely grated
sweet potatoes, raw: coarsely grated or cooked: mashed
winter squash, cooked and mashed
zucchini- grated

Linking to:  Take a Look Tuesday
One Project at a Time Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Handmade Tuesday
Tutorial Tuesday
Creative Creations Tuesday
Ingredient Spotlight

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made

Well, now that the Spoilers have had their fun at the expense of us bloggers, I will get on with the business at hand.

For a number of reasons, sweets were the focus of my blogland cooking this week.  I did also make a new barbecue sauce.  On Wednesday, my oldest daughter called and asked if I was planning on making cookies.  She was looking for some to take in her lunches to work.  Now mind you, she is way over 40 years old and could make cookies herself.  She lives alone now that her daughter is in California, doesn't like to bake, and I still spoil her, so I do make cookies for her from time to time.


I knew that these Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars from Six Sisters Stuff would just fill the bill for my daughter.  When I found them, I realized that they were very similar to a peanut butter bar cookie I used to make that was in a Better Homes & Gardens cookie book.  The book has been misplaced so I have not made those bars in many years.  They were, however, one of my childrens favorite cookies when I made them.  I have made these a couple of times now, and they are very good.  The Sisters' recipe calls for additional peanut butter to be spread on the bars.  I leave this out due to personal preference.


We had to make a quick trip over the mountains to Tacoma and back yesterday.  When we have to spend several hours in the car, I like to make a sweet treat to take along.  Being a Butterscotch lover, I had been meaning to make Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars from Mel's Kitchen Cafe ever since she posted the recipe in May.  If you like butterscotch at all, make these!  They are decadent and delicious.  They are very rich and should probably be cut small.


There was a church potluck after church today.  I needed to make something on Friday that would keep OK till today.  Last year I made Praline Pecan Zucchini Bundt Cake from Real Mom's Kitchen.  The recipe calls for Butter Pecan Cake Mix.  After I used the two I had last year, I could not find that flavor any more in the stores in my town.  Last week I discovered some in a local store, on sale for .50 no less.  I bought up the five they had, so decided to make this cake.  This is so easy and makes a wonderfully moist cake.  It is the only recipe that I am actually willing to buy zucchini to make.  I did make the cake in a 9x13-in. pan instead of a bundt pan.  The original recipe has a wonderful praline sauce to pour over the cake.  Since I was taking this to a potluck, I just frosted the cake with (gasp!) commercial cream cheese frosting.  The photo is of three pieces that had survived the trip to church and back.


Tuesday is my mother's 92nd birthday, so the family took her to dinner tonight.  That coupled with being out-of-town on Saturday, meant that I did not cook this weekend.  On Friday I barbecued some country ribs in the oven to provide Hubby with dinner for the next two nights.  I made Caramelized Onion Barbecue Sauce from Prairie Story.  I had been going to make this for a while but kept forgetting to buy beer.  This was very good, and I will make it again.  I cooked the ribs and poured the barbecue sauce over them to marinate until Hubby warms them up.

All of these blogs have wonderful recipes.  Be sure to spend some time and look around if you go to check out any of these recipes.

I took all the photos for this post.  If you want to see better, more professional like photos, please visit the blogs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Spoilers Continued

Well, this is day two and Google is still flagging my blog as a possible danger since I have links to the hijacked blog here.  I would normally post Friday Finds, but that usually brings readers, and I do not want them to encounter Google's warning if it is still up.  I am, therefore, taking a little posting vacation.  I will be back Monday with the hope that this has all gone away.

Everyone have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spoilers and Why I Did Not Link Up Today

Spoilers, there are spoilers everywhere.  We all know that the internet is infested with Spoilers even in Blogland.

One thing that I like to do is lead the people who read my blog to other blogs with recipes and information I think is of value.   I think most bloggers also want to do that.

Unfortunately linking to someone else's blog can create problems.  Twice in the last couple of weeks, my blog has been flagged as having content from two different Word Press blogs that have been hacked into and listed as distributing malware.  These are popular, well-established blogs, and reputable bloggers.   Because I have links on this blog to those blogs, I have been flagged also.  I'm sure that my blog is OK, but would my readers know that.  I think not!

I emailed the latest blogger affected; and she let me know that the problem was taken care of, but that the notification would not be lifted until Goggle makes its next pass.  It is after 9:00 PDT here, and the notification has not been lifted.

Not wanting to bring possible new readers to my blog today, where they would see the Google notification;  I felt that it was best not to link up today.  So to my link party friends that I usually link up to, I am sorry I missed your parties.  To my followers and regular readers who may have tried to access my blog today, I am sorry if you got the Google notification.  AND WE CAN ALL THANK THE SPOILERS!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Zucchini Bread

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UPDATE:  Left the amount of sugar out of the recipe.  It is 2 c. and the ingredient list has been corrected.  Thanks to the commenter who alerted me about this.

Here is a nice quick bread  to spread with any sweet butter idea I posted yesterday   This is another recipe that appeared in at least two Farm Journal Cookbooks.  It uses vegetable oil so I don’t have to remember to soften butter when I want to make it.

I prefer fresh, grated zucchini for making this.  I am not sure what my problem is, but I have not had great success in using frozen zucchini when baking.  Any one have the secret, let me know.

The recipe makes two 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch loaves.  I only have 9x3-inch loaf pans so my bread is a little squat.  I highly suggest lining the pans with foil and greasing and flouring the foil for this bread.

Zucchini Bread
County Fair Cookbook,  1975
Farm Journals Best-Ever Recipes, 1977

3 c. sifted flour
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
1 T. vanilla
2 c. grated, unpeeled zucchini squash
1/2 c. chopped nuts, toasted
1 t. flour

Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Beat eggs well in large bowl.  Gradually add sugar and oil, mixing well.  Add vanilla and dry ingredients; blend well.  Stir in zucchini.  Combine walnuts with the 1 t. flour; stir into batter.  Pour into two greased and floured 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until bread tests done.  Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool on racks.  Makes 2 loaves

Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY Groceries-Sweet Flavored Butters

Top:  Raspberry Jam Butter, Bottom: Chinese 5-Spice Butter, Coconut Butter,
Maple Walnut Butter
Good Monday Morning to all.  Welcome to my new followers and thanks to all of you for following my blog.  I hope that you find the information that I post here useful.

At the end of my post last week, I said that sweet flavored butters were a whole other subject.  Well I thought that this week I would broach that subject.

Again, flavored butters are so easy to make but so impressive to serve.  Like savory flavored butters, sweet butters are limited only by one’s imagination.  Butter can be combined with jam, marmalade, lemon curd, honeys, syrups, extracts and spices
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With Christmas looming on the horizon it may be time to think about food gifts.  A nice loaf of homemade quick bread, accompanied by some sweet-flavored butter has always been a big hit when I have given it as a gift.  The butter can be geared to the flavor of the quick bread.  I give maple nut butter with pumpkin bread, coconut butter with pineapple bread, apple butter butter with apple bread. etc.  It is such a simple little extra, and people are always impressed.

All these butters are great on quick breads, muffins, biscuits,waffles, pancakes, bagels, and some even do wonders for vegetables.

Soften the butter and mix any chosen ingredients into the softened butter, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a small glass or plastic container.  I like to use confectioner’s sugar when I make sweet butters as I feel it makes a smoother butter than granulated sugar does.  That said, I also like brown sugar with some spice combinations.  I give a range for some ingredients.  Start with the smaller amount and increase to taste.

Here are some combinations to think about.

Honey Butter
1/2 c. softened butter
1/4 c. honey

Honey Butter is a very common flavored butter, but it is a great one.  Vary it by adding 1/4 to 1/2 t. cinnamon or other spice.   Can also add finely chopped, toasted nuts.

Jam Butter
1/2 c. softened butter
3-4 T. jam, jelly, marmalade, curd, or preserves

Any flavor can be used: strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, apricot, apricot-pineapple, apple or pumpkin butter, lemon curd, etc.

Coconut Butter
1/2 c. softened butter
2 T. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 to 1/2 t. coconut extract
2 T. toasted  flaked coconut

Toast coconut in microwave 15 seconds at a time until toasted.  Watch carefully.  Place coconut in a mini food processor and press to chop it up some.  Combine ingredients.  Turn into a small glass or plastic container or wrap in plastic wrap.

Extract Butter:  eliminate the coconut and add 1/8 to 1/2 t. extract of choice.  vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, etc.  Cherry extract with finely chopped, toasted almonds is very good.

Maple Nut Butter
1/2 c. softened butter
2 T. confectioner’s or brown sugar
1/4 t. maple extract
2 T. finely chopped nuts

Chinese Five Spice Butter
1/2 c. softened butter
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 t. Chinese Five Spice (This spice has licorice undertones)

Spiced Butter:  use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, cardamom, cloves, even curry powder.  Try combinations of spices such as those found in eggnog.  Be willing to experiment.

The Chinese Five Spice Butter and  a Sweet Curry Butter (just use 1/8-1/4 t. curry powder instead of the 5-Spice) are very good on carrots, green beans, corn, Brussels sprouts and winter squash.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made

Ever since I started this blog, I have had a bit of a dilemma.  My goal here is to post recipes that I have not seen elsewhere on the internet.  I do not want to make and repost recipes from other blogs, BUT I do really, really want to make them.  I also want to share recommendation to recipes that I do make that come from other blogs.

I do post "Friday Finds", but that is recipes that I have found that I want to try, but usually have not made yet.  After giving this much thought, my answer is that each Sunday I will share what I have made with recipes from the blogs, my thoughts and comments, and link to the original poster's recipe.  My hope is that this will encourage others to go and try the same recipe.  Here then is my first installment of "Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made".


Bacon and Parmesan Pasta  from Tasty Kitchen via Dine and Dish.  As I said on Friday, I did make this dish for dinner last night.  It was  quick, easy, and very good.  I had only 13 ounces or so of  pasta.  We like a lot of sauce so if I had used the full pound of pasta, I think that I would double the sauce.   I would have liked a little more pronounced Parmesan flavor, but the cheese I had was already shredded and not grated, so I probably should have used more than called for.   Since I am a garlic lover, I think that I would add a little garlic to this dish.  Since there are just two of us, I cooked only a half a pound of bacon; and because I knew that we would have leftovers, I served it separately so when the bacon is reheated it will still be crisp.  Each of us just stirred some bacon into our individual servings.  I served this with additional Parmesan.  I will make this again.



Caramelized Vegetable Trio from The Better Baker.  I love the idea of having a one-dish side dish if you will.  My hubby does not care for fresh or frozen green beans, so I used well-drained canned green beans when I made this.  I also peeled the potatoes which is his preference.  I did overcook my potatoes slightly so they mushed up a little in the final presentation.  I really like the sweet/sour flavor of this and will make this again.  I am also thinking that this might be good with other veggies used instead of the green beans.  I think that I will try it with carrots or Brussels sprouts.



Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies from This Chick Cooks.  This is my new favorite go-to breakfast or snack.  To make this even quicker to make, I ground a quart (yes, I did say a quart!) of oats in my mini food processor so that when I want a smoothie I don't have to do this step.  I also have bananas in my freezer at all times.  A few days ago when I was feeling particularly indulgent, I add 2 tablespoons of  Easy Cocoa Syrup to make a chocolate version.  It made a nice variation.  Chocolate, peanut butter, banana-what more could you ask.  Thanks Katie for a great recipe.

Note:  photos are from the blogs represented and are the property of the owners of those blogs.

I will be back next Sunday with more "Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made".  Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Butterscotch Drops


The other day I just had to have some cookies, so I turned to one of my tried-and-true recipes, Butterscotch Drops.  This recipe uses vegetable oil so it is not necessary to wait for butter to soften.  I love this when I am really in need of cookies.  These are plain, unassuming little bites full of good brown sugar flavor and crunch from the nuts.  The original recipe did not require nuts, but I like to add toasted pecans or walnuts to these.

Butterscotch Drops
2 eggs
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 to 1 c. toasted chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Break eggs into a large bowl and beat well.  Add oil and sugar.  Stir in vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir into egg/sugar mixture, mixing well.  Stir in nuts.  Drop by teaspoonsful onto lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees 8 to 10 minutes.  Makes about 4 dozen. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Finds

Tasty Kitchen via Dine and Dish

Kristen over at Dine and Dish had a link to this delicious looking dish from Tasty Kitchen.  I got a very good buy on bacon last week, and I think that this is landing on our dinner table tomorrow.

Walnut Acre

More bacon (isn't anything better with bacon in it?).  I often make what I call "Cheese Bread" with hamburger or sandwich buns, but I had never though of adding bacon.  What a great idea!

Honey-Mustard Glazed Carrots
Aunt Nubby's Kitchen

Roasted Ginger Carrots
Kuzaks Closet

Carrots are one of my favorite veggies if they are not over cooked.  I like that they are always "in season" so I can buy them whenever I want.  Both of these recipes look delicious, and I will be trying them soon.

Mostly Food and Crafts

This post was part of the Macaroni and Cheese Challenge.  The two kids are adorable.  I think anything made in single size servings is great fun.  There are links here for all of the Challenge postings so I was kept busy for awhile.

Picture Perfect Cooking

Potatoes.  Butter.  All I can say is Yum, Yum, Yum; and I want some right now.

Sunday Baker via Two Peas and their Pod

Of course I found a cookie recipe.  What an unusual name.   Bar cookies with a cookie base, covered with marshmallows and chocolate chips, topped with meringue, what would I not like about these.

Well, these are my Finds for this week.  Looking forward to see what others have found.

Note:  All photos are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Confetti Potato and Ham Soup

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As I have said, although I cook a night meal only three time a week, I make lunch almost every day.  That means, I make soup a lot.  With fall rapidly approaching, I will be making it more and more.

Last week I shopped at a new-to-me grocery store.  Grocery Outlet, which I think may be a little like the Aldis in other areas of the country.  I went there because they advertised bacon at $2.99 a lb., which is an excellent price for bacon here in our area right now.  The store happened to have some Oscar Mayer Deli Select ham at .50 a package as it was the sell-by date.  I picked up two packages, put one in the freezer, and used the other one in the soup I made today.

I love potato soup and have two favorite recipes.  I used one as the base for today’s soup.  It came off a email list a number of years ago from someone named Brandi and was called Chunky Potato Soup.  I have added and modified the ingredients over the years and now call it Confetti Potato Soup.  I like the additional color that the celery and red pepper give to the soup.  Diced carrots, frozen peas, or corn could be added to make this even more confetti-like.  Peppers of other colors could be used also.

I think the addition of the potato-cooking water and the little bit of sugar make this a great tasting soup, and I make it often.  It is easily put together in less than an hour.  The soup thickens upon standing so leftovers may need a little bit of milk or water added when reheating.

Confetti Potato and Ham Soup
3  medium  potatoes
2  cups  water
1 small  onion,  diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 c. chopped red pepper
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour                     
1 qt. milk (4 c.)
1/2  t. sugar
salt and pepper to taste (I use Spice Islands Sea Salt and Pepper Grinders)
1/2 to 1 c. cubed, cooked ham or crisp cooked bacon (optional)
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain potatoes reserving liquid.  Set aside potatoes and 1 cup of cooking water.  While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in another large saucepan.  Add onions, celery, and red pepper and cook until tender, stirring frequently.  Add flour and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mix in reserved cooking water and sugar.  Stir well.  Gradually add milk stirring frequently.  Add  potatoes and ham.  Simmer over low heat 20-30 minutes, stirring often.  May either stir cheese into soup or use as a garnish when serving.  Serves 8.

Linking to:  It's a Keeper Thursday
Full Plate Thursday
Ingredient Spotlight

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cooking with the Journal-Easy Cocoa Syrup


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Sometimes I like a little hot cocoa or chocolate milk.  This is a quick and easy syrup that will make either hot cocoa or cold chocolate milk.  It keeps in the refrigerator indefinitely and has no high fructose corn syrup which is in many commercial bands of chocolate syrup.

This recipe certainly falls under the DIY groceries category, but since it is a Farm Journal recipe, I am posting it here.  It comes from “The Thrifty Cook”.

I have adapted the original directions to make use of the microwave.

Easy Cocoa Syrup
The Thrifty Cook
Farm Journal Books, 1974

4 c. water
2 c. unsweetened cocoa
4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 t. vanilla

Place the 4 c. water in a microwave-safe container (I use a quart measuring bowl).  Microwave water on high until boiling, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile sift cocoa into a large saucepan.  You may rub cocoa through a sieve with the back of a spoon if you do not have a sifter.  Add sugar and salt and mix well.  Gradually add boiling water, stirring until mixture is smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil 1 minute without stirring.  Remove from heat and cool; stir in vanilla.  Pour into glass jar or other container.  Store, covered, in refrigerator.  Makes about 5 cups.  Recipe is easily halved.  To use, mix 2 T. syrup with 1 c. cold or heated milk.  Stir well and enjoy.

Linking to Tuesday Talent Show
Totally Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Time Out Link Party
Tasty Tuesday
Cast Party Wednesday
Whisking Wednesday
These Chicks Cooked
Foodie Wednesday

Monday, September 5, 2011

DIY Groceries-Flavored Butters

Mexican, Middle East, Italian, and Teriyaki Butters
One of the easiest ways to dress up food (particularly veggies) is to add some flavored butter.  Flavored butters are easy to make and relatively inexpensive.  The flavor combinations are limited only by one’s imagination.  A single spice or herb can be used or a combination.  Try basil butter on green beans or cumin butter on corn.  Try 1/2 to 1 t. per stick of butter.

Butter can be mixed with teriyaki sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, Heinz 57 sauce, A-1 sauce, etc.  Try 1 to 2 T. per stick of butter

Dry salad dressing and soup mixes can also be mixed into butter.  Use 1 T. or more per stick of butter.  So move over garlic butter and let someone else play.

Use flavored butter on veggies, pasta, meat such as steaks, hot breads such as cornbread, French or Italian bread, or rolls.

I usually do a quarter pound of butter at a time.  I just let the butter soften, mix in whatever flavoring I’m using, wrap in plastic wrap and let the butter firm up  at least overnight.
 
Here are some combinations that I made recently.  Adjust the seasonings to your own liking.

Teriyaki Butter
1 stick butter, softened
2 T. Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze

Mix butter and Baste and Glaze together until well blended.  Turn into a small glass or plastic container or wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate overnight to firm up.  Use on veggies, meat, hot bread.

Italian Butter
1 stick butter, softened
1 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. thyme, crushed
dash pepper
dash garlic powder

Stir herbs together in a small bowl.  Add butter and mix well.  Turn into a small glass or plastic container or wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate overnight to firm up.  Use on veggies, meat, pasta,  hot bread.  Especially good on green beans.

Mexican Butter
1 stick butter, softened
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. garlic powder

Stir herbs together in a small bowl.  Add butter and mix well.  Turn into a small glass or plastic container or wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate overnight to firm up.  Use on veggies, meat, pasta, hot bread.  Especially good on corn.

Middle East Butter
1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
dash cloves
dash dry mustard

Stir herbs together in a small bowl.  Add butter and mix well.  Turn into a small glass or plastic container or wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate overnight to firm up.  Use on veggies, meat, pasta, hot bread.  Especially good on peas.

There are, of course, sweet butters, too; but that is a whole other subject.

Linking to Ingredient Spotlight
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